The Legacy of Cain HTML version

23. Eunice's Diary
Only two days now, before we give our little dinner-party, and Philip finds his
opportunity of speaking to papa. Oh, how I wish that day had come and gone!
I try not to take gloomy views of things; but I am not quite so happy as I had expected to
be when my dear was in the same town with me. If papa had encouraged him to call
again, we might have had some precious time to ourselves. As it is, we can only meet in
the different show-places in the town--with Helena on one side, and Miss Jillgall on the
other, to take care of us. I do call it cruel not to let two young people love each other,
without setting third persons to watch them. If I was Queen of England, I would have
pretty private bowers made for lovers, in the summer, and nice warm little rooms to hold
two, in the winter. Why not? What harm could come of it, I should like to know?
The cathedral is the place of meeting which we find most convenient, under the
circumstances. There are delightful nooks and corners about this celebrated building in
which lovers can lag behind. If we had been in papa's chapel I should have hesitated to
turn it to such a profane use as this; the cathedral doesn't so much matter.
Shall I own that I felt my inferiority to Helena a little keenly? She could tell Philip so
many things that I should have liked to tell him first. My clever sister taught him how to
pronounce the name of the bishop who began building the cathedral; she led him over the
crypt, and told him how old it was. He was interested in the crypt; he talked to Helena
(not to me) of his ambition to write a work on cathedral architecture in England; he made
a rough little sketch in his book of our famous tomb of some king. Helena knew the late
royal personage's name, and Philip showed his sketch to her before he showed it to me.
How can I blame him, when I stood there the picture of stupidity, trying to recollect
something that I might tell him, if it was only the Dean's name? Helena might have
whispered it to me, I think. She remembered it, not I--and mentioned it to Philip, of
course. I kept close by him all the time, and now and then he gave me a look which raised
my spirits. He might have given me something better than that--I mean a kiss--when we
had left the cathedral, and were by ourselves for a moment in a corner of the Dean's
garden. But he missed the opportunity. Perhaps he was afraid of the Dean himself coming
that way, and happening to see us. However, I am far from thinking the worse of Philip. I
gave his arm a little squeeze--and that was better than nothing.
. . . . . . .
He and I took a walk along the bank of the river to-day; my sister and Miss Jillgall
looking after us as usual.
On our way through the town, Helena stopped to give an order at a shop. She asked us to
wait for her. That best of good creatures, Miss Jillgall, whispered in my ear: "Go on by
yourselves, and leave me to wait for her." Philip interpreted this act of kindness in a
manner which would have vexed me, if I had not understood that it was one of his jokes.